People 1st

People 1st

Helping women fulfil their potential

Women make up 56 per cent of the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industry’s workforce, yet only 6 per cent of hospitality company directors are female. People 1st, an employer-led sector skills council, set up Women 1st to address this gender imbalance at senior level.

Women 1st provides mentoring and personalised training to help the brightest female junior and mid-level managers in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector to fulfil their potential.

To date, over 400 women have benefited from Women 1st’s ‘Step Up’ programme which delivers continuous professional development for female junior managers. Women 1st also runs mentoring programmes and a network which involves 4,000 women from 1,000 employers.

Recent projects include the Female Chefs’ Development Programme, which was set up after research found that only around 40 per cent of chefs are female.

Of the 400 women who have completed Women 1st’s ‘Step Up’ programme, 33 per cent say it has helped career progression, 20 per cent received an increase in salary and 89 per cent feel that they can break the glass ceiling.

Employers within the industry have also responded and changed their approach as a direct result of the initiative. Food service management company, Sodexo, has now implemented a female leadership network within its business, and Whitbread – owner of Premier Inn, Beefeater and Costa Coffee – is planning to do the same.

Andrea Hamer, events manager at Abode Hotels, said: “The Step Up programme has completely changed my life. Before I felt like I was standing still and not going anywhere. Now I feel confident and my career has really evolved.”

People 1stSharon Glancy
Director (People 1st Training Company)
People 1st
Second Floor, Armstrong House, 38 Market Square
Uxbridge UB8 1LH
Tel: 01895 817 035
Reg. charity no. 1001041


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